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Ronald L. Bricker v. Fred J. Ruffo

December 16, 2010

RONALD L. BRICKER,
PLAINTIFF :
v.
FRED J. RUFFO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Rambo

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff Ronald L. Bricker ("Bricker"), an inmate currently confined at the State Correctional Institution in Houtzdale, Pennsylvania ("SCI-Houtzdale"), filed this civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on July 20, 2009, as amended on October 27, 2009. (Doc. 15.) Named as defendants are several individuals employed by the Department of Corrections ("DOC").*fn1 Bricker claims that Defendants retaliated against him for filing a previous lawsuit.

Before the court is a motion to dismiss the amended complaint or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. (Doc. 26.) For the reasons that follow, the motion for summary judgment will be granted in favor of Defendants.

I. Background

A. Facts

Bricker alleges that Defendants retaliated against him for filing a previous lawsuit. (Doc. 15 at 2.) Specifically, in retaliation for filing a lawsuit, purportedly against Defendants, Bricker was placed in the Restricted Housing Unit ("RHU") in his former place of incarceration, the State Correctional Institution at Mercer ("SCIMercer") and then transferred from SCI-Mercer (a Level 2 institution) to SCIHoutzdale (a Level 4/5 Institution). (Id. at 2-3.) Once at SCI-Houtzdale, he was placed in a cell with a Level 4 inmate. (Id. at 3.) Bricker asserts that he did not file a grievance with respect to his placement and that he was not required to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing this action "because of Pa. 5th State (Amend) Const. of 1968." (Id.)

B. Procedural History

Bricker filed his original complaint on July 20, 2009. (Doc. 1.) By order dated August 13, 2009, the court dismissed certain parties pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(iii), but granted Bricker leave to amend his complaint. (Doc. 6.) After granting Bricker an extension of time to file an amended complaint, (Doc. 9), he filed an amended complaint on October 27, 2009 (Doc. 15). By order dated November 5, 2009, the court again dismissed certain parties pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(iii), declared certain relief requested stricken, and directed service of the amended complaint upon the remaining Defendants named therein. (Doc. 18.)

Defendants filed the instant motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment, on May 5, 2010. (Doc. 26.) Bricker filed a brief in opposition on June 1, 2010. (Doc. 35.) Thus, the motion is ripe for disposition.

II. Standard of Review

A. Motion to Dismiss

Defendants has filed a motion which, in part, seeks dismissal of the complaint on the grounds that Bricker's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, as provided by Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The motion, however, goes beyond a simple motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) because it is accompanied by evidentiary documents outside the pleadings contravening Bricker's claims. Rule 12(d) provides as follows:

If, on a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) or (12)(c), matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule 56. All parties must be given a reasonable opportunity to present all the material that is pertinent to the motion.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d). The court will not exclude the evidentiary materials accompanying Defendants' motion to dismiss because Bricker has also been given a reasonable opportunity to present material relevant to the motion. Thus, Defendants' motion to dismiss and for ...


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